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FCC sets new rules to curb scam texting

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires wireless carriers to block texts from illegitimate numbers.

The new federal regulations target the mass distribution of scam text messages, known as “robotexting.” Threat actors automate phishing attacks, sending out millions of SMS messages where even a low success rate translates into hundreds of victims.

“The new rules will require mobile service providers to block certain robotext messages that are highly likely to be illegal,” FCC said in a press release.

Robotexting has been a growing problem, FCC said, with the number of complaints rising by a staggering 500% last year. Scam texts often include links to phishing sites that host malware that users can unknowingly download.

Robotext messages sometimes mask their original sender and appear to be coming from legitimate sources, such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or Social Security Administration (SSA), coaxing victims into trusting the scammers’ message.

The new regulation will require carriers to block text messages from suspicious senders using “invalid, unallocated, or unused numbers.”

“It also includes numbers that the subscriber to the number has self-identified as never sending text messages, and numbers that government agencies and other well-known entities identify as not used for texting,” FCC said.

Additional regulation will require mobile wireless providers to set up a point of contact, allowing legitimate senders to dispute being blocked.

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